Work-Life Balance – How to Create It

Work-Life Balance – How to Create It

March 13, 2020 0 By Anthony Ekanem

Work-life balance is the act of balancing the demands and the amount of time and efforts given to work and the workplace, and those given to the individual’s domestic, personal, family, and social life. Work-life balance has become an issue with growing concern and importance as a result of changes in the traditional family settings and work patterns. There are now new problems in balancing work and life; thus, work-life balance has become an important subject of discourse.

So much has changed in work patterns in the last couple of years that many people in the developed world do not hold on to what was once considered the family values with some parents working from home, or splitting work between an office and the home office.  Family responsibilities, tasks and activities are shifting and changing into a much more flexible and unpredicted patterns.

Work-life balance is all about managing the time you have to get things done so you can have time for yourself and your family. Every successful manager will tell you that you have enough time to do everything you want to do, as long as you prioritise your tasks and fully understand what it is that you want to do.  Work-life balance is about setting limits and truly understanding how much every detail in your daily routine is important to you and your goals.

If you know any parent that works full time and still manages to raise smart, healthy and happy children, they have a secret. The secret is their ability to maintain a good work-life balance. Work-life balance, as has been defined earlier, is the ability to balance the demands of work with your personal life. You can be successful and happy doing both if you have the right knowledge and tools. And that is what this post aims to give you.  Read on.

Tools for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Two key elements are required for a good work-life balance, and these are prioritising and delegating. Prioritising starts by understanding that there are too many things to be done and that you cannot do all of them at the same time. Prioritising is the first step to a balanced work-life because it starts the process of understanding the activities limit daily.

Delegation is another work-life balance tool you can use to deal with growing tasks. Managing time is the same as tasks management, and both are the basics of work-life management. Understanding the time you have available and figuring out what you want to do with it is a great challenge.  As with all work-life balance challenges, going to bed at night and realising you have done 90% of what you planned to do, and that your day had the structure of work and family activities you wanted will make you feel good and even make you sleep well at night.

Tips for Balancing Work and Life

We all feel off-balance sometimes. You may be having difficulty sleeping or are stressed or getting emotionally sensitive. During such times, your life may be focused too much in one or more areas. Dividing your attention between different activities and finding routines can help you to restore a balance. Do too much of anything and you are bound to go crazy at some point. The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds. You can work hard and still find time to enjoy your family and your life. All you need to do is to create a balance between your work and your personal life. So, how do you do it? You only need to adopt a few essential tips as discussed below.

  1. Have a Flexible Schedule.  The more rigid you are, the less likely you will be able to develop a successful work-life balance. Understand that there are times when your work requires more of your attention and there are also times when your personal and family life requires more attention. You can balance the two when you allow a little flexibility in your schedule.  
  2. Balance Your Workload.  Work as much as you can, but not too much that you cannot create or maintain a balance in your life. Take on additional tasks at work only when you feel up to it, and when you know that your family will not be affected by your coming home late. Avoid attending too many parties and ceremonies at weekends.
  3. Prioritise Your Activities. There will be times when you cannot get everything done. As long as you have prioritised your activities, you will be able to take care of the most important ones first, and you can always catch up on less important activities later.
  4. Delegate.  We have talked about delegation earlier. Any person who has been successful in balancing work and life knows that you cannot succeed unless you know how to delegate. Know whom you can turn to in a time of need and who has a skill set that is compatible with your needs, so that when the occasion arises, you can delegate some of your tasks to them. Delegation is not limited to official tasks. You can also delegate personal tasks including household chores.

Work-life balance can be created when you schedule enough time for your personal interests and work tasks. You can do this by organising your schedule and taking care not to overburden yourself at any given time. Also, remember that to achieve a successful work-life balance, you must put your personal life at or near the top of your priority list. If work is your only priority, you will not succeed at both.

Whether you are an employee that is frustrated with overwork, a manager who wants to create a more supportive environment, or a company trying to get more information on the subject, you will find the resources very useful.

Work-life balance programmes benefit all stakeholders. They benefit the company by increasing productivity and focus on the job, reducing labour turnover and increasing employee satisfaction. Employees will be absent from work less because they will not be sick as often. Families will be more supportive of the employee’s job and company choice because they know the company supports the employee’s personal needs, and their efforts to sustain good health and to manage stress.

Stress and Work-Life Balance

Stress is the adverse reaction an individual has to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. In the workplace, the negative and damaging effects of stress can arise when pressures are extreme, such as peak busy periods, but can also be caused by continuous exposure to stressful conditions, such as being in an unsuitable job or being treated unfairly. Outside of work, negative stress can be caused by major events, such as a death in the family.

Stress affects individuals in different ways. In similar situations, some people can cope, or even thrive on the pressure, whilst others may find it extremely difficult to cope and thereby suffer negative stress. The extent of control that an individual has over their workplace conditions, events, and work-life balance, will influence the extent of negative stress they may suffer. Individuals with greater control will tolerate and manage stress or avoid them altogether, more successfully.

A vital factor in achieving an appropriate work-life balance is to ensure that the work element does not dominate, or cause damage to the individual through the effects of negative stress. It is unusual to find people with a work-life balance that is dominated by their life outside the workplace. It is almost always the workplace activities that dominate. For professionals undertaking personal and career development activities, the positive activity of personal development must be actively managed to ensure that it does not increase stress levels and cause damage to the individual’s work-life balance.

Signs of Lack of Work-Life Balance

Balance is more of a feeling than an act, although many people refer to it as a balancing “act.” Most of us know when we are feeling out of balance. Many people comment that things feel best when home and work are balanced.

Career men and women who feel as though they have achieved a balance generally say they feel happy, productive, empowered, in control, and energetic. If you feel like this, you might want to take a moment to celebrate because you have achieved something that most people only dream of! If, however, you don’t feel like this, you can join the ranks of over half of the world’s working population.

So, how do you know if your life is out of balance? Do you feel:

  • Like everything is out of control?
  • That it is difficult to manage your time?
  • As though everything is pulling at you?
  • Constantly worn down and tired?
  • As if you have few or no good choices?
  • Like you react, rather than respond, in stressful moments?
  • Or that you spend all your time doing things for others, but that no one seems to reciprocate?

If these feelings resonate with you, you are not alone.

It is not hard to see why finding a balance between work and personal life can become a daunting task when you are feeling like this. Being at a point of imbalance creates incredible difficulty in making change because you feel you have no control, and when you feel way, it is difficult to make a change. When we are worn down, tired, feeling as though we have no good choices, and reacting poorly to those around us, we create a downward spiral that feeds itself.

So, if you cannot do anything else right now, just consider two small steps. The first step is “knowing” –  and you are already working on that aspect by reading this post. The second step is to rest.  Begin getting the rest you are lacking. No matter how much that little voice in your head tells you that you cannot afford rest, argue back and get some sleep. Resting your mind will give you the mental strength to begin taking action towards a better work-life balance. Good luck.